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73-75 k5 blazer purchase

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by w0lf, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    i'm looking to purchase a late model K5 Blazer (1973-75) , and a buddy of mine suggested this board as a good place to try for advice.

    i have a few questions that i was hoping someone could answer, and feel free to point out anything i missed.

    1. is there any reason i shouldn't look at the 73-75 k5?
    2. how can i determine what a good price is for one, KBB only goes back to 1985, and i'm not sure where else to look.
    3. should i go for one that has original parts, or look for rebuilt motors, trannies, etc. ?
    4. i assume that there is an abundance of parts, so anything that is busted should be easy to get right?
    5. how does one "check out" a 30 year old truck before purchase? i assume the standard things like no rust, straight body, etc. but what else?

    so far i've found 5 in the truck trader / on the web, and the median price for a 73-75 seems to be around $5k. understanding that any truck this old will require signinfcant work, i'm trying to come in under that.

    can you suggest any web sites that i can go to that i can start reading about the trucks, and learn some of this stuff up front?

    f i read it correctly, the 74/75 added full time 4wd, auto locking hubs, some other body / interior options, a new 4 barrel option for the 350 in 74, and with the 75 a new 400 ci v8 with a 4 barrel.

    so a few further clarifications on these changes.

    - how do people feel about the changes in the 4wd system?
    - i want an AT, are their any issues with the hydro matic?
    - my guess is that it doesn't matter which motor i get (preference is the 350 on the 73, 4 brrl 350 on 74, and 4 brrl 400 on 75) as this will be rebuilt either way, right?
    - air conditioning, i want this in the truck, but if it doesn't have it, it can be added later?
     
  2. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    Any year will be a nice k5 . Those early ones are full convertible . The 4wd system went from part time to full time, and back to part time again. A truck with most of the original pieces there is a better find. Since you mention you want a/c you probably want a nice looking truck, so find a good body regardless of motor , motors are so easy to swap in these trucks. If you were really looking for a truck, there is a for sale section here, someone probably has what you want for sale, and people here generally maintain their trucks. /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  3. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    What to look for: interior condition and rust. Mechanical stuff can be fixed cheap, but rust is a bear, and the interior parts aren't always easy to come by.

    The 4WD system is full-time with the automatic (NP203) from the factory. Many have been converted to part-time with a aftermarket kit in the transfercase, and locking hubs on the front axle. You can find the spotter's guide for transfercases, but basically, if a 73-75 has the automatic, it'll have an NP203, and that's okay.

    The manual trannies came with the part-time NP205. It doesn't sound like you're wanting a hardcore wheeler, so I'd say the automatic/NP203 combo is fine for you.

    The TH350 tranny is well-understood and while not bullet-proof, certainly a good tranny. (Though it lacks an overdrive, so you're spinning high RPM's at highway speed. Fuel economy sucks, obviously.)

    The 400ci engine is much maligned due to cooling issues, as the cylinders are "siamesed", ie there are only coolant passages every other cylinder, instead of between each. I would avoid one, personally. I've not seen these on '73-75's; if they had one from the factory it's already been blown up and been replaced with a 350. [NB: I hve a 400ci in my '77 Chalet; my experience is that if treated well they'll last... but a 350 is more durable and abusable.]

    Also, 90%+ of this era trucks had automatics, air conditioning, etc ... they were fully loaded with options. While technically the passenger and rear seats, top, etc were all optional, GM loaded these down so as to maximize their cost -- just like today.

    Also, if it were me, I'd look for an unmolested truck. A truck that's already had a lift put on it and fat tires -- by someone who doesn't know what they're doing -- is a recipe for undue stress on the drive train, and for your pain. There's nothing like trying to figure out what crazy thing a previous owner did to your truck.

    Umm, that's all I can think of. I made some mistakes when I bought my '74 (before I knew about CK5 -- heck, I bought it before there WAS CK5 /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif) and the above should help you avoid some of those mistakes. I'm still toying with the idea of buying a clean original one, so I can turn my current one into a hardcore wheeler. Never too many trucks...

    -- A
     
  4. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    When you say that 4wd system changed from part to full back to part time again, then that means if i don't want to have to swap everything out (i.e. pull full time install part time) then i should shoot for a 73.

    That gives me part time 4wd, and is the second generation k5, which most people seem to think are easier to find parts for?

    i'll check out the for sale section, thanks for the info
     
  5. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    What to look for: interior condition and rust. Mechanical stuff can be fixed cheap, but rust is a bear, and the interior parts aren't always easy to come by.

    The 4WD system is full-time with the automatic (NP203) from the factory. Many have been converted to part-time with a aftermarket kit in the transfercase, and locking hubs on the front axle. You can find the spotter's guide for transfercases, but basically, if a 73-75 has the automatic, it'll have an NP203, and that's okay.

    The manual trannies came with the part-time NP205. It doesn't sound like you're wanting a hardcore wheeler, so I'd say the automatic/NP203 combo is fine for you.

    The TH350 tranny is well-understood and while not bullet-proof, certainly a good tranny. (Though it lacks an overdrive, so you're spinning high RPM's at highway speed. Fuel economy sucks, obviously.)

    The 400ci engine is much maligned due to cooling issues, as the cylinders are "siamesed", ie there are only coolant passages every other cylinder, instead of between each. I would avoid one, personally. I've not seen these on '73-75's; if they had one from the factory it's already been blown up and been replaced with a 350. [NB: I hve a 400ci in my '77 Chalet; my experience is that if treated well they'll last... but a 350 is more durable and abusable.]

    Also, 90%+ of this era trucks had automatics, air conditioning, etc ... they were fully loaded with options. While technically the passenger and rear seats, top, etc were all optional, GM loaded these down so as to maximize their cost -- just like today.

    Also, if it were me, I'd look for an unmolested truck. A truck that's already had a lift put on it and fat tires -- by someone who doesn't know what they're doing -- is a recipe for undue stress on the drive train, and for your pain. There's nothing like trying to figure out what crazy thing a previous owner did to your truck.

    Umm, that's all I can think of. I made some mistakes when I bought my '74 (before I knew about CK5 -- heck, I bought it before there WAS CK5 /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif) and the above should help you avoid some of those mistakes. I'm still toying with the idea of buying a clean original one, so I can turn my current one into a hardcore wheeler. Never too many trucks...

    -- A

    [/ QUOTE ]

    thanks for all the info.

    2 further clarifications though.

    initially this truck won't be used for hard core wheeling at all, maybe down the road a bit.

    what do you think a good price would be for a 73? there is one in the truck trader for $3k, and i have no idea if that is a good deal or not?

    thanks /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  6. Cmoe

    Cmoe 1/2 ton status

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    Well this is a very hard area to call. What abillities do you have? What equipment do you have access to? Any friends to help? What abillities do they have? How do you want to use/build this rig? What kind of money do you want to spend on repairs and customizing?

    Looking for something that has a strait frame and mostly complete is a great start. Bumpers on the vehical is a great place to start. Since Chevy doesn't weld their frames at all,but rivits it togather the bumpers control the squareness of the frame. Have someone drive the k-5 down the road watch it drive away, if you can see the front tire, inside edge (since the track of the rear end is suppost to be just inside the front tires), look at the frame somemore. Look at the frame where the power steering box is mounted for cracks (weak spot and a great way to lower price on a vehicle). Also look at the rear shock hangers on the frame, they sometimes crack.

    Body:
    Rust is the problem to look out for here. Some times theire is rust under the carpeting near the door, bottom of door, under fender wheel opening, under rear tailgate & bottom of rear tailgate. Most tailgates at the top of the chanel where the glass goes up and down crack on the out side. Hoods on the early models have cracks where the hinges mount to the hood due to the stregnth of the spring, they make braces that will keep this from happening.

    Electrical:
    Hack jobs sometimes are hardest things to fix without a lot of time hunting down where things go.

    Drive trans:
    Engine trans t-case and axles where to start here? Engine 350 or 400 is a good start I don't like rebuilds unless your involved in the rebuild! I thing the best is to get a GM Crate motor. Trans same thing t-350, or t-400 unless you want a stick. T-case will most likely be a np-203. I would convert to a part time. axles most desireable gear ratio is 3:73. may want to regear, depending on the size of tire your going to run.

    Everyone here will help ya with info about what ever you need.. just let us know what questions you have!
     
  7. supersize75k5

    supersize75k5 OrganDonorRacing.com

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    3K is a a decent price, however you can scoe one for about 2000 grand here and there. There still are quite a few of them out there so dont be mislead about that.

    Also dito on the finding a rust free or close to it body, looking for one from az might not be such a bad idea as well. The time you can spend fixing rust is always worth spending an extra grand or waiting for a good one to fall in your lap. Just dont jump at the first one you see.


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    insperation for ya /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    as for the drive train thing.. I also recommend just concentrating on finding a nice body and frame, engins are affordable for a crate motor, you can have the t-case and tranny rebuilt and have a very reliable drive train. Add a new starter, battery, alternator, water and fuel pump and a quadrajet from a local autozone and most of your truck will be under warrenty /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif

    These trucks can truly be a blast to drive and build, if you set your self with a planned budjet and a goal of what your end result will be you cant go wrong. These trucks are also some of the easiest to wrench on "providing it is rust free or close to it"

    Not to mention this web site, as well as the people on it are very resourceful /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  8. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    Watch Ebay. You can find some good ones there, and get a good idea on prices too.
     
  9. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    I'm going to answer your questions inline below.

    What abillities do you have?
    none, i could change the oil on the truck, that's about it.

    What equipment do you have access to? Any friends to help? What abillities do they have?
    one of my buddies owns an automotive shop and has most everything i'd need i imagine, and should be able to get parts cheap. another one of my buddies has a blazer that he has built from the ground up, so he already knows most of what to do.

    How do you want to use/build this rig?
    To start with just to haul my dogs around, equipment for our new house (shovels, wheelbarrows, sod etc.). Later in life, i'd like to start wheeling it a little not hard core by any stretch.

    What kind of money do you want to spend on repairs and customizing?
    This is a loaded question, but i imagine that i will spend a LOT of money on the rig over the next few years, but in spurts. I can easily see dropping $10k into it over the next 2 years.

    thanks
     
  10. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Watch Ebay. You can find some good ones there, and get a good idea on prices too.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    i've been watching Ebay, there is only one on there that i found, and it's thrashed. would you suggest bidding on a truck? i have some concerns about not being able to see it, so unless it was local in No Cal, i don't think i'd do that.

    unless you are saying just to watch it for prices?
     
  11. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    I seen that 75 on ebay, and I'd pass on that one also.
     
  12. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    If you want a project 74 cheap, PM me and I will discuss one I will be putting up for sale shortly. And, I am in your neck of the woods...
     
  13. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    If you want a project 74 cheap, PM me and I will discuss one I will be putting up for sale shortly. And, I am in your neck of the woods...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    sent you a pm just now
     
  14. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    Just a thought, if you want the full removable top, alot of people cut the top off the cab and use the 73 to 75 tops on the newer (76 to 91) Blazer. It can look pretty good, and give you more options for years of Blazers.
     
  15. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Just a thought, if you want the full removable top, alot of people cut the top off the cab and use the 73 to 75 tops on the newer (76 to 91) Blazer. It can look pretty good, and give you more options for years of Blazers.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    really??

    that would be very cool actually. as you correctly guesses, the reason i want that year blazer is for the convertible.

    /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  16. BranndonC

    BranndonC 3/4 ton status

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    but you'd have to install a full roll cage up front to stiffen up the frame. also the tops are not bolt on, you need a 73-75 windshield
     
  17. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Got your PM. One advantage of 73-74 in Ca. is no smog. Cut the top off a later model and you still deal with smog.
     
  18. socalblazer

    socalblazer 1/2 ton status

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    I bought mine in stock condition for 3k back in February. Came with a GM Goodwrench 350, rebuilt TH350 and rebuilt xcase, working A/C, with minimal rust. Now I've got around 6k into it.
    Probably the most common setup you’ll see for an automatic will be the TH350/NP203, and it will most likely be a full time setup unless someone has already converted it to part time 4wd. If not, you can convert it yourself for around $350.
    For what you’re looking for in a Blazer I think this combination is fine, it’s strong enough for most types of 4-wheeling and fairly inexpensive to rebuild if necessary.
    When testing a potential truck make sure you take it to a dirt lot and go through the gears in 4lo and 4hi to make sure it works and it’s not making any funny noises.
    A/C is a pain to install so I’d look for an A/C truck that blows cold, you don’t want to scrounge parts to put one together.
    When I buy cars/trucks, the stocker the better unless I know the person, or I feel the work has been done to my standards, this way I know the parts fit as the factory intended and there’s no surprises. I’m pretty picky so I’d recommend that you check all of the major drive-train components and where they attach to see if there’s any excessive wear. Shock mounts break, gas tanks leak, radiators rust, body mounts break through floor pans, battery trays, floor pans (check under the carpet), under dash wiring harness, etc. Be patient, the only one that’s gonna be unhappy with the wrong purchase will be you. You're right about coming to this site for help, there's a lot of people here that know their stuff about K5's so don't hesitate to ask.
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    Good luck! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  19. 2Dogs

    2Dogs 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Thanks All for helpin my Bud out. We are talking right now about his purchase - I'm telling him 72 or older for looks, 73-74 for Ca smog, and the 87-91 for TBI.

    Any local folks sellin any of the above? We need to look at a few options
     
  20. w0lf

    w0lf Registered Member

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    i found an 89 Silverado with Heavy Duty package, and the original owner.

    $4k / obo, what do you all think?

    /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif
     

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